New Brunswick

Environmental group joins chorus of voices against paving of Moncton High sports field

An environmental group is adding its voice to a number of groups and people coming out against the proposed rezoning of the former Moncton High sports field.

Developer wants permission to pave sports field

Jenna MacQuarrie, Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance project manager, said the environment group is not trying to tell people where to develop but pointing out that this area in particular, is very important. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

An environmental group is adding its voice to a number of groups and people coming out against the proposed rezoning of the former Moncton High sports field.

The Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance says it filed a written objection with the city on Thursday over concerns about the increased risk of flooding the proposed parking lot may cause.

"For the sake of the local ecology and obviously storm water management issues which affect not only the local ecosystem but also the community, we felt it necessary to speak out," said Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance project manager Jenna MacQuarrie.

If city council allows the rezoning, Moncton High's former football field will be converted into a 559 stall parking lot. (Tori Weldon/CBC)
Heritage Developments Limited announced its intentions to buy the empty building in August. When company expressed its intent to revive the heritage building, part of its plan was to take the former football fied and turn it into 559 parking spaces.

Dozens of residents attended a meeting to voice their concerns about the zoning change earlier in October and last week, the city's planning advisory committee voted to recommend against allowing land to be rezoned. With the community's opportunity to voice its concerns to city council on Nov. 6 fast approaching, the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance wrote a two-page submission to the city.

In it, the group explains that the field used to be part of Hall's Creek salt marsh which now runs adjacent to Wheeler Boulevard. The developer's plan includes leaving a green space between the asphalt and the boulevard, but the Alliance's letter states that, "the expansion of impermeable surface in the location of a former wetland, would be contradictory to flood protection, climate change adaptation, and wetland conservation & restoration strategies currently in place under all levels of government." 

The 82-year-old Gothic-style building closed in 2015, when a new school was built on the outskirts of the city. (Karin Reid-LeBlanc/CBC News)
The land is currently zoned community use. According to the city's municipal plan this designation is "a broad land use designation that is used to assist with protecting the natural Environment through the establishment of conservation areas and watershed protection zones, as well assisting with creating a city-wide system of parks …"

Heritage Developments Limited did not respond to the CBC's request for an interview.

 A public hearing to consider written objections to the proposed rezoning changes will be held at Moncton City Council. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.

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